I'm not sure if every artist feels this way, but I really dislike taking photos of my work. Which is probably why I don't do social media. Photos of my work never do justice to my paintings and I always feel unhappy about the way they look on my website. A lot of the photos I share of my work show a side angle of my paintings. The reason I do this is because I feel like it gives a better representation of my work. Part of the beauty of oil painting is the shine and the surface of the work.
On the other side, I've also noticed that some paintings look better in photos than in person. That may be an advantage in the computer age, but I would still rather have my work viewed in person. I've attached some photos that show some of my recent oil paintings and give a better sense of their surface quality and color.
I'm always on the hunt to try new oil painting products and I decided to try out Gamblin's Gamvar gloss varnish. For anyone new to varnishing: varnish is used after a painting has dried and the artist wants to bring back a richer surface. It brings back sunken in looking colors and there's many different types of varnish from matte to glossy. I personally prefer a gloss varnish. I had previously been using Winsor and Newton's gloss varnish.
The first thing I noticed about Gamvar is that it has almost no odor at all. This is really nice since it's good to varnish paintings indoors with no windows open. Varnishing outside or with windows open can cause dust and other particles to land on your canvas and set in when the varnish dries.
The second thing I like about the Gamvar is that the bottle is really easy to open; this might sound like an obvious feature, but Winsor and Newton has bottles with a black safety top that are SO ANNOYING to open and I usually end up breaking the tops off (Get on that W+N).
The Gamvar is also water-like in it's consistency, I really like this because a little bit of Gamvar spreads across the surface really nicely and goes a long way. Other varnishes dry really quickly and get sticky and tacky almost instantly.
I'm still waiting for the first coat of Gamvar to dry to see if I need another coat, but I have to say right now that Gamvar is the best oil painting varnish that I've used. I've used all types of varnish (including the traditional dammar and copal) and I love the way Gamvar looks and feels. Besides gloss, they also have a matte and satin finish, which I haven't used those but I imagine they're also really nice.
Thank you Gamblin for a terrific product, I won't be using any other varnish from now on.
*The images below show some progress shots as I used the Gamvar on some recent and older paintings. I'm going to see how the Gamvar dries and might apply a second coat after 24 hours.
UPDATE: After the first coat dried, the gloss lost a little shine so I decided to add a second coat. The first coat dried after 24 hours so I applied another thin coat and now it looks great.
I just finished a large watercolor flower painting commission! It's 18" X 20" which is fairly large for a watercolor. I really enjoy painting large works and I think this is one of my nicest watercolors. I'm going to flatten the paper tomorrow and take some nice photos for my website. I still have to varnish some oil paintings and photograph those also..
Just put the final touches on this painting. I am really proud of myself for pulling the trigger with this painting and finishing it. I always looked at our clock and thought it would be fun to paint, but I was dragging my feet and not painting it. But now I've painted it and I'm really happy I did. It was a quick painting (only took 2 days) and I painted the entire thing from life. I've learned that nothing will ever replace painting from life and I'm going to paint from life as often as I can. The colors from life cannot be reproduced in any photograph.
I also added a sliver of light along the right side of the canvas which shows that there's another room to the right of the clock. That room, in reality, is a hallway that has more sunlight in it. With painting, just like anything else, to get results it's necessary to commit to the project. This principle applies to everything in life. Being able to commit is the most important quality.